In late 2019, Sugar became the first volunteer Community Support K9 for the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office! She has been busy fulfilling her job duties with me by attending a variety of events in the surrounding communities-including bringing joy to people young and old, doing her best to make personal struggles just even the tiniest bit easier.
Her duties will ramp up as the winter continues by visiting local middle school and high schools on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office to help students to cope with the everyday struggles of being a teenager by offering her quiet demeanor and her love of some good pets and snuggles! She will also be attending local events to help encourage community engagement with first responders and she will offer additional assistance as needed by the Sheriff’s Office to help with reducing short-term anxiety and providing important mental and emotional wellness benefits following a critical incident. Hope and healing is an incredibly powerful gift that she is able to provide, and she is remarkable in her abilities to do this for those who encounter her!
While this volunteer opportunity keeps her busy, she still continues her work as a Certified Therapy Dog by bringing joy and smiles to many in elementary schools as well as senior housing (including assisted living and memory care). People anxiously await her arrival each time and she is greeted with a chorus of “Sugar’s here” from young and old alike. She has even convinced some in senior housing that she should get dog treats when she arrives, and she quickly finds out who has the treats in their pocket and almost climbs in their lap to let them know that NOW would be a good time to give her the treat:)
She may even stop in to say hi to officers while they support the wonderful Special Olympics in their annual Polar Plunge on February 22nd!! (Interested in supporting the Anoka County officers in the Polar Plunge? Check out the link below to donate):
In April, Sugar will get the opportunity to attend a Sheriff K9 Training School with me for one week in Ohio. Part of the week will be in a classroom setting learning the best practices for creating a stellar Community K9 program, and the last half will be training with a Master Trainer who will be taking us to a variety of public places including courthouses to put our training to the test in real-life situations that she may encounter as a Community Support K9. Because of Sugar’s extensive service dog training since puppyhood and her comfort in public places, I anticipate this will be the easiest part of the training school for her, but none-the-less it’s always great to see her skills in public and to ramp up the challenges to make sure that she remains quiet, calm and reassuring in ALL situations that might come her way!
I am so incredibly proud of ALL of the ways that Sugar has served communities from New York to Minnesota and all of the lives that she has touched with her incredible personality, as well her beautiful puppies and grand puppies in service dog work around the globe! (Over 250 puppies/grand puppies are making her proud!) I look forward with anticipation to her continuing efforts to change lives and bring smiles and hope to the faces of many!